Icons - Fight of the Century - Joe Frazier vs. Muhammad Ali, 1971
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Catherine Ursillo $3,000.00

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Fight of the Century - Joe Frazier vs. Muhammad Ali, Monday, March 8, 1971, at Madison Square Garden, New York City

Limited edition art photography
Museum archival pigment prints from original color slides
20x24 in. Limited Edition - Inquire details
Signed: signed, numbered
Certificate of Authenticity by artist.
Made to order

Also available: Other sizes; Black and white version 

All sales final, unless not as described

Sales tax is only applied in orders shipped to California. Use tax may apply.

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© Copyright of Catherine Ursillo, all rights reserved


This “Fight of the Century” as it was known, was a breathtaking anticipation of a heavyweight championship fight in the golden years of boxing, which pitted two fighters, both of whom were undefeated, within the build-up fervor reflecting socio- political tensions of that time - the opposing stances among rival supporters in a divided nation, for or against the Vietnam War.

Even for non-boxing fans, this event and picture represents one of the great moments in history, viewed by many around the world.

On the evening of the match, a star-studded crowd watched two of the greatest fighters who ever lived battle for supremacy in the world’s premier sports arena. Madison Square Garden had a circus-like atmosphere, with scores of policemen to control the crowd, outrageously dressed fans, and countless celebrities, Frank Sinatra, Nelson Mandela, JFK Jr when he was 11.

Per writer and author, KIERAN MULVANEY, History channel:

      “Everybody who was anybody was there,” remembered boxing historian Bert Sugar. “They were scalping hundred-dollar tickets for a thousand dollars outside … There were people coming in with white ermine coats and matching hats, and that was just the guys. Limousines lined up at Madison Square Garden for what seemed like 50 blocks.”
      “It wasn’t a normal fight crowd, even for a heavyweight title fight,” recalls Ryan, author of On Someone Else’s Nickel: A Life in Television, Sports, and Travel. “Here, you had people like the Cardinal of New York. There, you had the superstars like Diana Ross. Frank Sinatra was a ringside photographer for Life Magazine. Burt Lancaster was the color commentator on the TV pay-per-view.”

The fight was sold, and broadcast by closed circuit, to 50 countries in 12 languages via ringside reporters to an audience estimated at 300 million, a record viewership for a television event at that time.

A philosophical lesson from this event, iconic and relevant as ever: even when Ali lost, he emerged a winner, because he fought magnificently and there was no shame in losing the way he did.

“They wanted a crucifixion, but if they think that is what they got they are bad judges of the genre,” the late Hugh McIlvanney wrote the next day in the Guardian. “The big man came out bigger than he went in.” - AP news.

“It’s a good feeling to lose,” Ali said. “The people who follow you are going to lose, too. You got to set an example of how to lose. This way they can see how I lose. It’ll be old news a week from now. Plane crashes, a president assassinated, a civil rights leader assassinated, people forget in two weeks. Old news.”

Catherine began her professional photographic career as a staff photographer for the anti-war paper The New York Free Press and worked for newspapers and magazines covering the political crisis of the 70s.

Her work has been used by corporations, industrial and editorial clients and have appeared in magazines, textbooks, annual reports, corporate brochures and photo book collections.

She has exhibited her work in the U.S. and Europe, with one-woman shows at Nikon Gallery, Soho Photos, (she was a founding member of Soho Photo), Forum, Trade Center Gallery and others. Group shows have included Leica Gallery, First Woman’s Bank, MIT, United Nations, Museum of Natural History, Museum of the City of New York and others.

She has had portfolios published in many photo anthologies, including Family of Women, Photo, Zoom, Popular Photograph, Women See Men and others. She established and directed the photography department for Chemical Bank.

She also represented OXFAM on a trip to Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Australia.

Select Collection:

Museum of the City of New York

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Prints are generally made to order and delivery usually takes 2-4 weeks. Therefore, all sales are final unless not as described

Framing is available, custom framed in Los Angeles.

International orders outside the U.S. - buyers will be responsible for paying any duties and/or taxes imposed by import country before the photographs can be delivered.

Sales Tax

There is no sales tax if shipped outside California. Use tax may apply in your state.